#family

BABYSITTING GRANDPA

I remember how I loved babysitting our grandchildren 

how neatly they fit into my arms.

I remember being impressed with their intelligence and captivated by their charms.

 

How they would spend the night with us…how we’d make sure that they were fed

how we’d play some games, watch a movie then send them off to bed.

 

How in the morning we’d make pancakes…in any size or shape requested

and smile as our handiwork was so easily digested.

 

But grandchildren grow up…a fact no grandparent can ignore

and there comes a time when grandchildren don’t need babysitting any more.

 

So the other night when Deborah had some friends over I thought it would be sweet

to make a date by taking Ali and two of our grandchildren out to eat.

 

I saw this as a way to spend some time with them

but Ava had a different point of view

She said, “Remember when you use to babysit us, PopPop?

Now we’re babysitting you!”

 

And I had to laugh but it made me wonder when she repeated it again

What’s the difference between them now babysitting me

and when I was babysitting them?

 

The main difference of course is we’re all older and they no longer fit into my arms

but I am still impressed with their intelligence and captivated by their charms.

 

Their world has expanded outward…their life is more complex

our conversations are more adult now..though sometimes their mom objects.

 

Despite the fact we’re older we still visit with the same joy and laughter and vigor…

although now when we play UNO…the cards seem so much bigger! 

 

They no longer spend the night…and after dinner when I was sure they had been fed 

since they now stay up much later than me…I drove home and headed off to bed.

 

Hoping our grandchildren remember when we babysat…

hoping those days are etched deep in each one’s memory.

hoping they remember the last time I babysat them with as much joy

 

as I’ll remember the first time they babysat me.


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TWO SIMPLE WORDS

When our family gets together, like most families I assume

There are two words when spoken that can light up any room.

 

Whether emanating from a chair, around a table or by the kitchen sink

these two simple words when paired together have more power than you think.

 

For these two word when spoken awaken a shared memory

and instantly remind us what it is to be a family.

 

These two words evoke our laughter, our wonderment…our tears

of moments we once shared together that have melted into years…

 

Allowing us to revisit together…a mutual memoir

to remember who we were back then…that made us who we are

 

Oh how we laugh or cry or smile…

when these two words are spoken every now and then

Oh how our memories are stirred 

and our hearts are filled

when we hear the words…

 

Remember when…



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HAPPY THANKSGIVEN

I had a friend many years ago who always said Happy Thanksgiven.

We all smiled at her malapropism…and she was immediately forgiven.

 

Many years have passed and this friend has long since left my sight

but when I consider what today means…I now think…

she was right.

 

Every other holiday we celebrate…though they certainly uplift

has become less about the meaning of that day…

and more about the gifts.

 

That’s what makes Thanksgiving special…more familial…less stressed.

That’s what makes Thanksgiving…different from the rest.

 

In a society that can be harried, fast paced 

and often excess driven

today is a great day to contemplate and be thankful 

for all the gifts we have been given.

 

Not the gifts that we unwrap…from boxes we throw away

but the gifts that we’ve been given 

that are with us every day.

 

Gifts that make life special…gifts that never end

like sitting around a table with family and friends.

 

Coming together as a family at least one time every year

where we eat, we laugh…tell stories…

and remember those no longer here.

 

Gifts planted throughout our lives that continuously bloom…

Gifts we see on the faces of everybody in the room.

 

As we watch our children…now grown up…

we laugh and smile with ease

remembering how it used to feel 

when they sat upon our knees.

 

Thanksgiving reminds us to cherish these moments 

knowing they will not last long

a reminder of what holds a family together…

of what what makes a family strong.

 

That’s what makes Thanksgiving special…

that’s why families amass 

because we know the best path into the future…

is by linking to our past. 

 

Seems my old friend was right all along…

she need not ever be forgiven

Today’s a day to say thanks….

 

for all the gifts we have been given.


SO MUCHMORE THAN PIE

The older we get we realize…

although we have the same amount of time each day

it is hard to get together with people we love…

as so many ‘things’ get in our way.

 

When it comes to our nephew and his wife…

this was a trend we wanted to defy.

The solution it turned out was quite simple…

our mutual admiration…for pie

 

So we made a date…a chance to meet…

to look each other in the eye

to talk about our lives 

our adventures

and to do this over a slice of pie.

 

And we did…

we met…

we talked like we always do…

we shared a laugh…

a cry 

and the conversation went down smoothly…

just like that slice of pie.

 

As we talked…as we reconnected…

how quickly time flew by…

and before we knew it we had finished…

our conversation…

and our pie

 

And I thought how wonderful it was to meet this way

as we hugged and said goodbye

and how easy it is to share the beauty of life

over a slice of pie

 

We decided to do this again and soon as possible

(not to oversimplify)

because we know time spent together with those we love

 

is about much more than the pie.



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HEY MOM

I love working in the bookstore where I am constantly surprised 

as I get to watch slices of life play out before my eyes…

 

I heard them before I saw them…a mother and her daughter too.

“Hey Mom”, I heard the daughter say, “let me hold the door for you”.

 

The daughter stood there smiling while opening the door wide…

as her mom, now using a walker, slowly stepped inside.

 

“Hey Mom! Do you want to look for a book?” her daughter ask her twice.

"Come to think of it”, her mother said, “a dictionary would be nice.”

 

I showed them a used dictionary, the mother’s face turned red…

“It’s just like the one you had growing up!”

“We’ll take it!” the daughter said.

 

“Hey Mom, do you want to look for another book?” the daughter asked

“If you want…you know you can.”

“No, I’m tired dear I think I’d like to sit down and talk to this young man.”

 

(I looked around the store, no other customers did I see

I happily concluded as this mother smiled…she was talking about me!)

 

She sat, we talked together in voices kind and calm

Meanwhile throughout the store we heard her daughter call “Hey Mom”.

 

“Hey Mom, are you sure you don’t want another book?” 

“Hey Mom, here’s something you don’t want to miss.”

“Hey Mom I remember reading this when I was young.”

“Hey Mom take a look at this.”

 

The mother smiled as she heard her daughters questions, her calls…her pleas…

“It’s nice to have a daughter.” she said, “who takes good care of me.

 

“Hey Mom, do you want to get some ice cream?” the daughter asked as they headed out the store…

“Hey Mom, watch your step…be careful as you’re walking out the door.”

 

I love how life is cyclical because as the mother finally cleared the door

another mother held it for her daughter as she ran into the store…

 

“Hey Mom, can I get a book?” her daughter asked…

“there’s so many in here I haven’ t read…

Her mother smiled as she looked at me..

“Of course you can.” She said.

 

And as the Mom passed by the counter…

With grace…with confidence…with aplomb

A voice rang out from the back of the store…

 

“Hey Mom! Come here!…”Hey Mom!”



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TALLER THAN NANA

We have four grandchildren in our life and we love they came our way.

We remember when each was born…as if it was yesterday.

 

When they were merely babies we held them in our arms

and through the years we’ve been enchanted and captivated by their charms.

 

It’s fun to look back wistfully to a time when they were smaller

because over the years…we’re not sure when…they’ve all grown so much taller!

 

We use to kid with them when they were younger…oh how the kids would fuss

When we’d put our hands on their heads and say…

“You’ll never be taller than us!”

 

Well…the first grandchild grew taller than Nana years ago, 

followed by the second 

then the third…

and Nana smiled as each one overtook her…without saying a word.

 

But the other day, reminding us how time often passes in a blur,

Nana noticed our youngest granddaughter is now looking down on her.

 

Nana, who once carried all our grandchildren easily across the floor

in the blink of an eye, or so it seems, is shorter than all four.

 

(I probably would be more sympathetic to Nana…to this growing reality

If I didn’t realize that all too soon…they’ll also be taller than me!) 

 

Of course we know that’s the way it goes…the way the years are supposed to pass

still in our wildest dreams we never expected…the years would pass so fast….

 

But as I see Nana and our grandchildren now standing side by side

I have to smile when I think how much we’ve enjoyed the ride….

 

So the fact they are taller than Nana…

is not something we bemoan

because we have enjoyed every minute 

of every hour 

of every inch 

 

that they have grown….


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ONE ROSE

(If we only saw a field of flowers stretching out in a hundred rows

We may never truly appreciate the beauty of one rose.)

 

When I look at the life Deborah and I have had…

to this fact I must attest

With 3 children and 4 grandchildren…

we have both been blessed.

 

We have been extremely lucky as we’ve watched them grow

to realize how together they set our world aglow.

 

But we also love to take a moment…on this we both agree

to stop what we are doing…

and think of each one separately.

 

(If a crowded forest is the only view our eyes will ever see

we may never know the beauty of that solitary tree.)

 

So periodically we take a moment to look at each child individually

to savor the beauty that is growing on our own family tree.

 

(If only in the harmony of a choir we rejoice

we may never know the beauty of that one distinctive voice.)

 

We think back to a time long ago when they were babies…

when they sucked their thumb

and then we look today at the person they’ve become.

 

We find when we take the time to look at each one individually

we are pleasantly surprised…at what we hear and see.

 

It seems remembering each child independently 

gives us a moment to rejoice

and listen to the beauty we hear in a single voice.

 

When we take the time to remember each child individually

is when we discover the beauty and the wonder of that single tree….

 

Yes, looking at a single child…through their triumphs and their woes

 

is when we truly appreciate…the beauty of one rose.


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A HOUSE BEAUTIFUL

 

We are dog/house sitting for friends of ours while they are on a cruise

I’ve heard it said you don’t really know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes…

 

I imagine that is true…in their shoes you walk, you run…you roam

but I also think you get to know a person when you spend time in their home.

 

As I walk from room to room I realize how their house is their memoir

It’s filled with memories…with bits and pieces of who they were…and are.

 

I begin to notice how pictures of their family can be found in every room.

It’s like I’m in a museum…I stop…I look…then I resume…

 

I see old people, young people, babies…pictures spanning generations

all contributing to the story of one family’s creation.

 

I pause at every picture…and as I visit…one by one…

I suddenly realize how many families go into making one.

 

I see love portrayed in pictures of people I know and some who remain unnamed

captured for eternity inside a picture frame

 

Perhaps that’s why we have so many pictures…not only for us to easily see

but every time we pass…it awakens a memory. 

 

In every picture I can see joy…a smile on every face

proving quite definitively how happiness fills this place.

 

I’m sure there’s also been some sadness…some tragedy and fear….

Some people in these pictures I’m sure are gone…but their memories linger here.

 

And we are happy to be sitting in their house as off to other realms they roam…

Knowing not only do they have a beautiful house…they have a beautiful home.

 

 

 

(P.S.   Another reason we’re glad to be in charge as they enjoy their birthday cruise….

 

They left a bunch of unlocked cabinets…and they’re all filled with booze!)


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LIVING THE DREAM

It’s apple season in the mountains and with family stopping by

that could only mean one thing…it’s time for apple pie.

 

The mountains, family, apple pie…we are living the dream.

so for dinner we celebrated with a slice of pie and topped it with ice cream.

 

We sat on our porch and talked into the evening while listening to the rain.

When we awoke next morning we noticed…half the pie remained.

 

Our parents taught us never to waste food…for that would be obscene

so for breakfast we had another slice…this time sans ice cream.

 

If you think pie for dinner then pie for breakfast might lead to our demise

Fear not…we didn’t put ice cream on our breakfast pie…hey, we’re not uncivilized.

 

After spending a lovely day in Asheville…before we bid the city goodbye

we decided to meet our son for dinner…and he suggested pie!

 

We looked at one another and smiled…thinking…this must be fate

and when we saw the restaurant served pie flights we hollered…”It’s a date!”

 

A flight of pies…how novel…how lucky could we be?

Instead of having just one slice…we’d be eating three!

 

And the waitress will forever tell the story how a group of grown ups cried

when she told them a flight of pies is served with a scoop of ice cream on the side.

 

I’m not sure if it was being surrounded by family…or the sugar high we were one

but we sat in the restaurant and talked and laughed long after the pies were gone.

 

Back on the porch for the evening with a crescent moon descending in the sky

I thought to myself how wonderful is the day…that begins and ends with pie.

 

And how family is like a flight of pies…each one of us a different slice upon the plate

but when you put us all together…you’ve got something that tastes great!

 

And when you top those slices off…with a dollop of ice cream…

You know you’ve got something special…

 

you know….you’re living the dream.


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